Connect. Collaborate. Risk. Innovate.

Connect. Collaborate. Risk. Innovate.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Empowering Students in 140 Characters or Less

      For several years now, I have been privileged to co-sponsor the Sullivan Heights Global Issues Club. Our initiatives, stemming from the diverse interests of our members, range from awareness campaigns relating to various social issues and environmental concerns, to fund raising drives in order to support local and international charitable organizations. As a club that operates within the sometimes frustratingly short lunch period, we have often struggled to connect and collaborate with our members beyond this time period. And so, last year in addition to creating a email contact list for our members, I began using twitter to bring awareness and information not only to our club members, but equally importantly, to our larger school community, and beyond.
      The impact of my decision to extend my twitter use beyond my subject area was immediate and profound. One of my first steps was to create a hash tag based on our Global Issues slogan and t-shirt design, Sullivan Cares. And thus #sullicares was born. With an ever expanding student population, I believe that effective communication is vital to provide a sense of belonging and connectivity, not only amongst our students, but also within our staff. I would argue that an additional layer of communication has been added to Sullivan Heights with the increasing popularity of twitter use in all areas of our school. Now, in addition to submitting daily announcements, it has become part of my daily routine to craft precisely worded, concise "tweets" in order to convey vital information, to raise awareness, and to motivate and inspire our student body.
        Today, the Sullivan Heights Global Issues Club hosted presenters from the Free the Children "Give Where You Live" Speaking Tour. Close to 800 students filled our theatre and normally, this highly motivational and inspiring message would be confined within those walls, but today I was able to immediately witness the ripple effect of the presentation through the "tweets" of my colleagues and our students. It was a powerful and impactful moment for me.
       And so, for the sceptics who bemoan the seemingly limited platform that twitter  provides, is it possible to empower and engage our youth in 140 characters or less? My unequivocal response is, yes! Through twitter, our Global Issues club can effectively demonstrate to our school, to our community and to our world that indeed, #sullicares!

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